100 Years of Advancing Destinations

New Plans Slated to Support DMO Advocacy Initiatives


Thursday, March 26, 2015
Destination Marketing Association International will update its advocacy toolkit for the destination marketing industry based on needs surfaced in recent leadership survey.

Washington, DC – Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) – the global trade association for destination marketing organizations (DMO) – is in the process of updating and enhancing its 2011 DMO Advocacy Toolkit to meet needs surfaced by a leadership survey conducted in January.

“With the introduction of the DMO Advocacy Toolkit in 2011, we armed DMOs with a resource to raise awareness and support for local travel and tourism issues,” DMAI president and CEO, Michael Gehrisch said. “Advocacy continues to be an important part of many destinations’ growing responsibilities as destination managers to publicly recommend action to grow travel and tourism to their destinations.”

A sample of 115 CEOs and Executive Directors of DMOs across the U.S. representing a variety of budget sizes contributed to the survey. Survey results uncovered that:

  • 86.8% of respondents consider developing and executing an advocacy plan that addresses community relations, government relations, and/or public policy to be important.
  • 58.4% of respondents do not have an advocacy plan currently in place.
  • 94.8% of respondents do not have negative relationships with stakeholder groups. 
  • 62.1% of respondents struggle with lack of stakeholder engagement.

Championed by DMAI’s Advocacy Committee, the updated toolkit will address the need for more strategic advocacy planning and engaging stakeholders over the long term.

“DMO leaders largely view advocacy as an important part of their ongoing activities, which is supported by the generally positive relationships DMOs have with their stakeholders,” said Advocacy Committee Chair Jack Johnson, Chief Administrative Officer & SVP, Public Policy for Choose Chicago. “The goal of the toolkit is to support the majority of destinations that have yet to plan strategically around the topic.”

The toolkit will support recommendations put forth by DestinationNEXT, DMAI’s strategic roadmap for the next generation of destination marketers, with additional resources including:

  • Advocacy plan development
  • Best practices for stakeholder engagement
  • Information on emerging policies impacting tourism